Investor Warned on RosUkrEnergo Bid

KIEV -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has advised a Ukrainian billionaire to abandon plans to buy a 50 percent stake in RosUkrEnergo, saying the gas intermediary has no future.

RosUkrEnergo, which supplies gas from Russia to Ukraine, is half-owned by Gazprom and half by two Ukrainians, Dmytro Firtash and Ivan Fursin. Ihor Kolomoisky, part-owner of one of Ukraine's largest holding firms, Privat group, wants to buy both out.

"I think Mr. Kolomoisky and Privat have simply lost their business sense," Tymoshenko said Thursday on a late-evening Ukrainian television talk show.

"This would be their most unfortunate investment in 15 years of working in Ukraine -- a failure because the assessment by Ukrainian, Russian and world experts is that [RosUkrEnergo has] no transparency."

Kolomoisky said Thursday that he had started talks to acquire 50 percent of RosUkrEnergo in an interview on the Ukrainskaya Pravda web site. He said he believed the stake would cost no less that $2 billion to $3 billion and possibly up to $5 billion.